Need help... Belgium train transport

May 24th, 2008, 05:40 PM
  #1  
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Need help... Belgium train transport

Hello. We are arriving in Brussels Midi from Frankfurt. From Brussels we need to take a train to Brugge where we are staying for three nights. Also from Brugge we plan to take a day trip back to Brussels. On our last day in Brugge we're thinking of possibly going to Oostende before taking an afternoon train to Amsterdam. Here are my questions:

From Brussels midi do we take a train at Central Station to Brugge? How far is that from Midi? Do we need to buy the tickets in advance?

For our train travels within Belgium, should I get the railpass saver which is 10 journeys for €71 which my wife and I can share? As I see it we will be doing 5 journeys. Brussels to Brugge on arrival day (#1); day trip to Brussels (#2&3); and tickets 4&5 if we go to the Oostende, return to Brugge and take a train to Amsterdam. Or will it be cheaper to just buy point to point tickets no the day of our travel?

Please advice. Thank you. Lucas


lucas2000 is offline  
May 24th, 2008, 10:05 PM
  #2  
 
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Trains through Brussels always stop at all three stations, Nord, Central and Midi, so you can get on one at Midi to Brugge. There is no need to purchase your tickets in advance. It looks like buying a rail pass is the best way to go as tickets from Brussels to Brugge are 12.30 one way. You can buy the rail pass at the station and simply fill in the trips as you take them.
mgbleuven is offline  
May 25th, 2008, 12:31 AM
  #3  
 
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Do as the previous poster suggest: buy the railpass at 71 euro. You can buy it at the station right before your first trip. You and your wife can share one.
You can indeed get to Brugge from Bruxelles Midi without having to go to Centraal first.
For calculating your trips, go to
http://www.b-rail.be/nat/E/index.php
Make sure to fill in the correct names of the cities:
Brussel Zuid (or Bruxelles Midi)
Brussel Centraal (or Bruxelles Central)
Brugge
You're OK if there's [station/stop] or [B] after the name of the place. ([B] stands for a Belgian railway station).
MyriamC is offline  
May 25th, 2008, 06:07 AM
  #4  
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Thank you mgbleuven and Myriam for your replies.

Another question - if we decide not to go to Oostende but instead leave Brugge early morning is there a Brugge-Amsterdam train that goes via Antwerp or Ghent? Is this still the SNCB rail? We can then get off in either town, walk around for a few hours than catch the afternoon train to Amsterdam. Again, do we need to get our tickets early to get the best price? Also, are there left luggage facilities in either Ghent or Antwerp station?

Thanks again for any reply. Lucas.
lucas2000 is offline  
May 25th, 2008, 08:03 AM
  #5  
 
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From Brugge to Amsterdam you will always have to change trains, at least once (in Antwerpen) or twice (Gent and Antwerpen). Both Gent and Antwerpen are still on the SNCB (NMBS in Dutch) rail, so you can use your railpass if you have any strips left. Wherever you go visit first, in Gent or in Antwerpen, you can buy your international ticket to Amsterdam for the InterCity trains. There's also a Thalys high-speed train between Antwerpen and Amsterdam but I wouldn't bother taking that. 1) you need to reserve your seats ahead ; 2) it's usually more expensive ; 3) your journey won't be any shorter 'cause the high-speed tracks are not yet operational on that Thalys leg.
There are left luggage facilities in both stations. There are lockers for sure, and - as per the website - there's a luggage room with staff. I'm not sure that the luggage room in Antwerpen Centraal is still there, or maybe it has changed places after the renovation works in the station. If you intend to visit Antwerpen I will gladly call the station and ask if this facility is still available.
You can check timetables for international connections here: http://plannerint.b-rail.be/ (in the column "Products", IC means InterCity, THA means Thalys).
MyriamC is offline  
May 25th, 2008, 08:05 PM
  #6  
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>> I'm not sure that the luggage room in Antwerpen Centraal is still there, or maybe it has changed places after the renovation works in the station. If you intend to visit Antwerpen I will gladly call the station and ask if this facility is still available. >>

Thanks Myriam for your reply. Yes, if you don't mind and it's not too much trouble I would like to know if the do indeed have luggage at the Antwerpen station.

We still have not decided what to do with the last day in Brugges. Going to the North Sea coast and taking the tram along the coast seem a more relaxing way or visit Ghent or Antwerpen for a few hours which I've read are really beautiful towns.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my post. Lucas.
lucas2000 is offline  
May 25th, 2008, 11:20 PM
  #7  
 
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If I were you, I would decide last minute on where to go. The seaside is nice and relaxing, I really like it very much, but with the weather that we are having today I'd much, much, rather be in Gent or Antwerpen! On a second thought, riding the coastal tram isn't really what you might expect. You hardly ever see the sea from the tram. Whenever we drive to the seaside (Knokke is where we always go), we always take our bikes (you can rent bikes at the station and in various bike shops in Knokke) and cycle along the boardwalk near the sea up to the nature reserve Zwin, then back through the residential Zoute area where you will find some nice restaurants and tearooms. But, again, the weather must be a bit cooperative.

The station in Antwerpen confirmed that they have lockers (different sizes) but no luggage room with staff.
MyriamC is offline  
May 26th, 2008, 02:00 PM
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Thank you once again Myriam. I will read more about the North Sea Coast and weather permitting, something we'll definitely may visit. I'm just afraid after Germany, Brussels, Brugge we'll get an overdose of city/town touring and we may need a change of pace/scenery.

Thanks also for confirming the lockers at Antwerpen in case my wife decides viewing diamonds and fashion is a lot better way to spend a few hours than viewing the beach. ;-)
lucas2000 is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 09:49 AM
  #9  
 
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If you decide on the sea-side, I'd go for Knokke, too, it's much cosier than Oostende and you can go to the Zwin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwin) by bike, which is really nice. If you decide to go to Antwerp, there's a lot of cultural things to see as well. Don't miss out on the Rubens Museum or the Fine Arts Museum. If it's diamonds you're after, avoid the shops in the street that runs along the train station (Pelikaanstraat) and head for the closed-off area (Hoveniersstraat). The area around the station is not very nice, but don't be scared off, hop on the tram underneath the station and head straight to Groenplaats, from there, if it's fashion you want, walk towards Nationalestraat for all the avant-garde belgian designers, Schuttershofstraat for more classic(, but high-end) stuff.
Enjoy !
scheldekaai is offline  

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